We spend roughly half of our time on the adoption and spread of the national programmes delivered by the AHSN Network. We spend the other half on areas of health consistent with the priorities set out in the NHS Long Term Plan in the Eastern region and the areas where our region is best placed to make major advances.
Following consultation across our region, we have defined four priority areas of greatest health need.
We welcome the increased emphasis across the NHS on improving mental health services, in particular for children and young people and the aim to see mental health on an equal footing with physical health. Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK, with a quarter of adults experiencing at least one mental health problem in any given year1. We are committed to help reverse this trend.
The NHS target is for people with cancer to survive longer and 75% of cancers to be diagnosed and treated at stages 1 and 2 (currently its 50%). Earlier diagnosis is critical to meeting our survival ambition, as it means patients can receive treatment when there is a better chance of achieving a cure.
The science of genomics has huge potential to pinpoint the right treatment for an individual patient. Our region boasts world-leading science in this area.
We supported the use of a proprietary rare diseases diagnostic platform in one of our local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). We co-led a consortium in a successful bid for a grant from Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) to build a cloud-based platform to house secondary care data, genomic and imaging data for 1,600 patients with three rare diseases, all secured and anonymised so that it could be used for research to find new treatments for these diseases. We will continue to support selected innovations which explore the use of data to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of comparatively rare diseases.
Over the next decade the number of people aged over 85 is projected to increase from 1.3 million to 2 million in the UK. This presents a huge challenge to health and social care services. It is widely accepted that the solution rests in supporting the older population to age well, concentrating on enabling health regimes, supported by assistive technology as people become less mobile.
All of our priority areas are set in the context of the prevention and wellbeing agenda, as the future of our NHS will not be secured simply by improving our hospitals but by supporting patients and the public to manage their lives and health conditions through better understanding of the resources available to them, including technology.
The solutions to the key issues facing our health and care system will rely on three enabling areas:
The health and care workforce faces the same issue the world over – insufficient qualified professionals to meet increasing demand.
In line with the NHS Long Term Plan and the Health Education England Topol Review, we firmly believe that the adoption of digital and other technologies can support the workforce in this period of increasing demand.
We work closely with patients and the public to ensure their voices inform and shape what we do. We do this, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it can help accelerate innovations through the system.
The way people live, work and interact has changed irrevocably. Digital transformation is revolutionising every industry and workforce – the NHS is no exception.
Initiatives such as Just One Norfolk, an award-winning platform we supported to increase access to health services for children and young people, are already making a real difference to people throughout the region.
Because patients hold the key to understanding what changes need to be made today and in the future to ensure their needs are met by innovators and the NHS
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